14 MONTHS ON: Mother of missing teen Macin Smith: ‘The nightmare is real’

Parents Of Missing Utah Teen Macin Smith Speak
Macin Smith's mom and dad, Tracey and Darrin, speak to Gephardt Daily in September 2015. The couple divorced in August 2018. Photo: Gephardt Daily

ST. GEORGE, Utah, Nov. 6, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — “Every day I wake up I am reminded that the nightmare is real. My son is gone. He may be gone for the remainder of my life.”

So writes Tracey Bratt-Smith, the mother of missing St. George teenager Macin Smith, in a heart-wrenching open letter to the some 15,000 members of a Facebook group set up to help find him.

The 18-year-old has been missing 14 long months, and Bratt-Smith has talked to Gephardt Daily about almost every aspect of her son’s disappearance, including how intensely challenging the holiday season is. But this November and December may be even harder, as the Smith family faces the unthinkable: the second Thanksgiving and second Christmas without their youngest son.

Bratt-Smith spoke exclusively to Gephardt Daily.

“I definitely think it’s the time of year and it’s like re-living loss all over again. Especially since there’s daily reminders of Facebook memories. Halloween, Thanksgiving coming up, preparing for Christmas without Macin seems moot,” she said.

“I’ve been in a resentful, grumpy mood for weeks. Hopefully my mood will pass. I’m just tired of the waiting and waiting and waiting….”

Macin, the last of the Smith’s six children living at home, walked way from home in the early morning hours of Sept. 1, 2015, when his parents thought he was on his way to school.

Macin left behind his cellphone, wallet, laptop, even his school binder, and effectively vanished without a trace.

Since that day, Macin’s family and friends have had not one shred of solid evidence that Macin is still alive. The family has worked tirelessly with professional search organization Red Rock Search and Rescue and police to bring him home. There is even a $10,000 reward in place, offered for information leading to his safe return.

To commemorate the one-year anniversary of his disappearance, the Smith family came to Salt Lake City and handed out lunch sacks with Macin’s “missing info” to the homeless, with the help of a group called Textwich, an organization that provides food while simultaneously looking for the lost. The group also handed out posters and fliers with his information on them in both Liberty Park and Pioneer Park.

But though there have been numerous possible sightings, not one has turned out to be credible, and as time goes on, Bratt-Smith has discussed how it becomes more challenging to keep hope alive.

Bratt-Smith and other family members have posted Facebook updates almost every day to the Help Find Macin Smith page — whose 15,643 members are known collectively as Macin’s Army — in the hope of bringing him home.

On Saturday, she wrote about the difficulty of trying to rebuild her broken heart. The post reads:

5 November 2016

Dear Macin’s Army:

Some days are better than others. If you are wanting to read something uplifting, please don’t read any further. It’s not that kind of post.

I try REALLY hard not to feel sorry for myself, reminding myself that we all have unexpected tragedies that happen. It’s part of the human experience. None of us get through life without loss. It’s inevitable. The logical mind continues to remind my emotional heart that having Macin gone just may be my new normal. Pull up my big girl pants and get on with life.

It’s been so difficult to try and put my heart back together after it’s been fractured into a gazillion pieces. I’ve never been a patient person and this experience has tried me to my very core. No reason to ask why? It just is. Every day I wake up I am reminded that the nightmare is real. My son is gone. He may be gone for the remainder of my life.
I am not able to go back and change things. Be more alert. Be more attentive. Be more available.

I hate that any of my children were suffering and now ALL of my children are suffering due to Macin’s absence. The innateness of mother instincts wants to nurture and fill the void that my family carries and yet I have nothing to give. It’s quite the quandary.

Perhaps my role here is to testify that one can live through their personal hell. It’s possible. It’s every day for us.

My news feed is full of election blurbs. It has been for months. The “old” Tracey was incredibly involved and passionate about politics. Loved that kind of stuff. Today, I don’t really care. I just want my son back. And I don’t mind saying I would probably sell my soul if I knew it would do any good.

Good night and thank you for your continued support.

The Momma

Macin did leave a note, which his parents discovered a week later folded inside his wallet. They have not released the contents, preferring to say the note contained an “intent,” which led them to believe he may have planned to harm himself.

Macin is 6-feet-4-inches tall and weighs 200 pounds. He has light blue eyes, and he had short blond hair when he went missing. The Smith family moved to Utah from Canada in spring last year, and there have been search efforts for him there, too.

Anyone with information about Macin is asked to call the St. George Police Department at 435-627-4300, or David Cummings at RRSAR at 702-787-4068.

To watch Bill Gephardt’s August interview with Tracey Bratt-Smith and Darrin Smith, click below.


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